Norwegian Getaway 11/29/2014 - 12/06/2014 DAY ZERO

Time to get this party started.  Steve and I loaded up and hit the road for a brief interlude in Las Vegas before getting on the JetBlue red-eye to Fort Lauderdale, and ultimately to Miami to get on Miami's Ship, the Norwegian Getaway.

We got almost to the freeway before the phone rang...it was the mama calling to tell us we had forgotten some stuff.  So, back to the casa, pick up the forgotten items, then back to the freeway.   We left the house at noonish, and arrived at the Best Western McCarran Airport about 3:30.  Checked in.  Nice room.  Nice hotel, and I got a great rate.  I would recommend as a place to stay before a redeye or very early flight from LAS.  But pick a date when a high school football team isn't sharing the property.  Up and down the halls, yelling and singing their alma mater...and still going when we left at 10pm.

Anyway, got to the airport and checked the bags.  Of course there was no notation on our rez about Steve's supplies (which, according to ADA should ride free), so that cost me $50  I was told I wouldn't have to pay, by the nice, but ultimately worthless, lady in the special needs dept at JetBlue.

 I have to give kudos to whoever is in charge of signage at McCarran.  The oversize vehicle lot is in a weird place, but every time I thought I was lost, BOOM - there was a readable sign with an arrow pointing me in the right direction.  So we got parked, and made the two mile trek back to the departure terminal where once again we were told there was nothing on our reservation indicating we would be needing an aisle chair.  But the nice, but ultimately worthless, rez agent at ticketing took all the info and assured us the gate agent would have all the information.  So, we breezed thru security (LAS actualy has a separate line for wheelchairs, and it wasn't crowded at 10pm on the Friday after Thanksgiving)(which is a great day to fly, by the way...NO ONE travels on the Friday after Thanksgiving).

We got to the gate agent who, of course, knew nothing about needing an aisle chair, but assured us she would call right away, make sure one was there.  So we hanged out for a bit, when the nice, but ultimately worthless, guy in charge of getting the halt, the lame and the elderly on the plane showed up and tagged Steve's chair for gate-check and told us we'd be boarding in just a few minutes, and escorted us to the gate.  When I asked him about the type of aisle chair they used, and  the footrest situation (it matters in terms of how we transfer Steve), he said "Aisle chair?  What aisle chair?".  So the whole airport was put on hold for 10 minutes until an aisle chair could get there.

But we got it, got Steve in his seat, let the other 150 people on and the rest of the flight was uneventful.  But I think you can see where I am going with this.  My very first flight on JetBlue was 3 week ago, and the second last night.  So far, I think their tagline/motto should be "Nice, but ultimately worthless".  Without exception, their personnel have been friendly and sound caring, but in the final analysis, there's just a lot of incompetence going on.  I know 14 is pretty young, in airline years, but honestly, Virgin America is half as old, and twice as good at being an airline.

SO....we got to Fort Lauderdale on time and hit the runway wheels first, so I'm not complaining too loud.  And the groundside staff at FLL was fabulous with Steve.  I assume down here in God's Waiting Room they have a lot of experience with wheelchair users, so that was good.  And now we are sitting in the baggage claim area, surrounded by baggage and waiting for the Norwegian rep to show up and get us on a shuttle to the Port of Miami, where, I am sure, wonderful things await us.

I'll let you know, tomorrow!

ADDENDUM - During the typing of this post, JetBlue's social media people and I  have been dm'ing back and forth. Guess we'll see if  THIS department will be both "nice" and "able to get things done", or "nice, but ultimately worthless.  I'll keep you informed, either way


Norwegian Getaway, 11/29/2014 PREVIEW

So, tomorrow night my brother and I will be driving to Las Vegas before flying to Fort Lauderdale and then down to Miami to board the Norwegian Getaway.

For those of you who don't know, my brother is hemiplegic due to a TBI at the hands (well, actually, he used a truck) of a drunk driver 35 years ago.  We have a wheel chair accessible aft balcony this time.  YAY.  Steve and I have been cruising, with or without our mother, since 1980 when we sailed on the Carnival Tropicale during her maiden season as Carnival's first newbuild.  So, yeah...been there/done that.  And watched the evolution of accessible cruising from then to now.  It's a piece of cake these days, and still my first vacation recommendation to wheelchair users.

First off, I have to tell you, we had some help with this one.  And I would like to thank the following people, who have contributed to Send My Brother On A Cruise:

Mary Hammer
Linda Farnsworth
Sue & Don Jeffrey
Jeani Vidal
Nancy Gilliard
Anna Peabody
Mark & Judy Busam
Dillon Guyer
Tamara Matulonis
Suzanne Sudduth
Amy Windham
Thomas Lanzarotta
Sherry Doss
Dennis Goodwin
Lisa Shindler
Laurie Shelton
Lorianne Nastasi
Mary Pat Sullivan
Steve & Sue Murtishaw
Kimberly Durhan
Sheila Paxton
Amanda Zito

I am humbled by the response!

We will be traveling with a couple dozen fellow travel agents on what is called the PhD@Sea Reunion Cruise.  I helped organize the first one on the Norwegian Pearl a couple years ago.  This will be the 4th one.  Sadly, I was unable to manage the 2nd and 3rd iteration.

Also, I have volunteered to reprise my presentation from CruiseWorld 2014 for the attendees.  So, that should be fun.  Other than that, there will be a couple of group events, but for the most part, it will be just me and Steve, cruising.

As usual, I will be posting a daily "Live From The Norwegian Getaway" every morning we are away.  Between now and that first post, I will be driving to Vegas, flying to FLL, shuttling to CruisePort Miami, and (oh, a couple more THANK YOU's to Klaus Lugmaier and Sean Wurmhoeringer) then hanging out with the fancy pants people to get VIP boarding. Again, YAY!
And then, bright and early Sunday Morning, I will be live blogging the whole thing.

I invite you all to join in and live vicariously  thru us.  The easiest way to do that is to "subscribe" to this blog, by clicking the little button over there.  No, that side ------>  I promise, only one a day, and I don't fill your email inbox with crap between cruises.

Or you can friend or follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/daveholmantravel, to see all the pics and video as I post it.  Your call.